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Coronavirus crisis: Australian expats in China describe how illness has changed their lives

Australian expats in China say that almost every aspect of their lives now revolves around the corona virus outbreak.

So far, the disease has killed more than 1,600 people and infected around 70,000 people worldwide, including 15 in Australia.

The epicenter of the virus, Wuhan, remains almost completely cut off from the outside world as authorities try to stop its spread.

Daily Mail Australia spoke with Australians who are currently trapped in Shanghai, about 1000 km from Wuhan.

Despite the distance between the cities, the virus affects the entire country, leaving people restricted to their apartments and unable to eat out or go to work or send their children to school.

The usually busy streets of Shanghai are currently virtually deserted because people stay inside due to the rapid spread of the corona virus

The usually busy streets of Shanghai are currently virtually deserted because people stay inside due to the rapid spread of the corona virus

Pictured: Danny Chen in his mask

Pictured: Danny Chen in his mask

Pictured: Danny Chen in his mask

Danny Chen, an Australian-born Chinese man who works as an online stock trader in Shanghai, first said he did not appreciate the significance of the virus.

“At first it felt like the virus was a thorn in our eyes, where we just had to take some precautions, but now it feels like our life revolves around it [the virus],’ he said.

Mr. Chen moved to China to look after his 97-year-old grandmother, who suffers from late breast cancer.

He knows he will not return to Australia soon, despite security concerns.

“I have to go to the hospital every few weeks to get medicine for my grandmother, and I don’t want to unwittingly bring an infection back to my parents in Australia and put them at risk,” he said.

“My life in Shanghai today is very different from my life a month ago. Daily life is disrupted both directly and indirectly at all levels. “

Mr. Chen limits all outdoor activities to a minimum.

But when he goes out, there is now a long list of steps that he ticks before opening the front door.

‘If I go out, I have to make a lot more preparations. I only bring my phone, I wear my face mask, my gloves, a few layers of clothing to prevent exposure to the skin and my hoodie over my head, “he said.

‘When I return, I have to thoroughly disinfect everything and wash immediately what I was wearing. It’s a tedious process, and something I’ve gone through, even though I just throw the garbage down.

“All possibilities of outdoor entertainment are no longer possible and eating out is not recommended.”

In addition to the potential social and health implications, Shanghai-based Australian photographer and writer Dave Tacon said the quarantine financial blow was and will be devastating.

Shanghai-based Australian photographer and writer Dave Tacon (photo) said the financial blow of quarantine has been devastating

Shanghai-based Australian photographer and writer Dave Tacon (photo) said the financial blow of quarantine has been devastating

Shanghai-based Australian photographer and writer Dave Tacon (photo) said the financial blow of quarantine has been devastating

Depicted: food covered in a largely empty market in Shanghai, because people stay inside for their own safety

Depicted: food covered in a largely empty market in Shanghai, because people stay inside for their own safety

Depicted: food covered in a largely empty market in Shanghai, because people stay inside for their own safety

“Much of my work is commercial photography and video production. This work has completely evaporated, along with a few client meetings that I had set up, “he said.

‘In addition to the supply chains of international industry, the lock here influences almost all aspects of the economy, including small business owners.

“Many stores where I live in Shanghai remain closed and the restaurants that are open are almost empty.”

Mr. Tacon knows families who have escaped to Bali or Thailand before entire provinces were placed in quarantine, but admits that they will not be able to survive there long.

The food markets are usually closed with only a few stalls open to sell the necessities

The food markets are usually closed with only a few stalls open to sell the necessities

The food markets are usually closed with only a few stalls open to sell the necessities

“Many of them have to think” “this is killing my business, I am bleeding money, when will this end?” ”, He said.

The photographer could have returned to Australia, but chose to hear that his fiancé, who is a Chinese citizen, could not join him.

‘We are busy with films and TV series and we cook at home. She was lucky to be able to return after her Chinese New Year from her hometown in Zhejiang, which borders Shanghai and is one of the worst provinces after Hubei.

“She took the last bus not long after the first cases were discovered there. Her city is now effectively closed off from the rest of China. ”

Pictured: Casey Hall wears her mask as she steps into the deserted street

Pictured: Casey Hall wears her mask as she steps into the deserted street

Pictured: Casey Hall wears her mask as she steps into the deserted street

Mother of three and fashion correspondent Casey Hall said the worst part of the experience for her family is that her children have been trapped inside since January 24.

She said that two of her three girls, five, three and one, have celebrated their birthdays since the lockdown started.

‘The most important thing is that the children cannot go outside. They have not been in their kindergarten or kindergarten since January 24 and we have not received guidance on how long they will stay at home.

“Their trips are actually a trip to the fruit shop, but they have to wear a mask and, especially for the baby, that’s pretty impractical.”

When they come home to their apartment building, officials check their temperature to make sure they don’t have a fever, which is a sign of the corona virus.

“It’s hard to live in the dark, not knowing when it’s going to end.”

Hugh Bohane is an Australian freelance journalist in Asia.

AUSTRALIA WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

NEW SOUTH WALES: 4

January 25

  • Three men, 43, 53 and 35 years old who had recently traveled to China, have confirmed that they have contracted the disease.
  • Two flew in from Wuhan, while the other arrived in Sydney from Shenzhen, South China.
  • They are treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital and are in a stable condition.

January 27

  • A 21-year-old woman is identified as the fourth person who tested positive for the disease in NSW.
  • The woman, a student at UNSW, flew on flight MU749 to Sydney International Airport on January 23 and presented 24 hours later to the emergency department after developing flu-like symptoms.
  • She is treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital.

VICTORIA: 4

January 25

  • A Chinese citizen aged fifty will be the first confirmed case of the corona virus in Australia.
  • The man flew from Wuhan via Guangzhou to Melbourne on January 19 on the Southern Southern flight CZ321.
  • He is now in quarantine at the Monash Hospital in Clayton in the east of Melbourne.

January 29

  • A Victorian man in his sixties is diagnosed with the corona virus.
  • He became unwell on January 23 – two days after his return from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
  • The man was confirmed as positive on January 29 and was subsequently seen by doctors at the Monash Medical Center. He was rated good enough to stay at home.

January 30

  • A woman in her forties has a corona virus.
  • She was visiting from China and mainly spent time with her family.
  • She is being treated at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

February 1

  • A woman in her twenties in Melbourne appears to have the virus

QUEEN COUNTRY: 5

January 29

  • Queensland confirms its first case after a 44-year-old Chinese subject was diagnosed with the virus.
  • He is being treated at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

January 30

  • A 42-year-old Chinese woman who traveled in the same Wuhan travel group as the 44-year-old man tested positive. She is in stable condition at the Gold Coast University Hospital.

February 4

  • The corona virus has been diagnosed in an eight-year-old boy. He also comes from the travel group where the other Queensland cases came from

February 5

  • The case was found in a 37-year-old man who was a member of a group of nine Chinese tourists in quarantine on the Gold Coast

February 6

  • A 37-year-old woman was diagnosed with the corona virus of the same travel group that flew from Melbourne to Queensland on January 27

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 2

February 1

  • A Chinese couple in their 60s who arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan to visit relatives have been confirmed to have a corona virus.

CHINA: 2

January 30

  • It has been confirmed that two Australians have the virus in Wuhan itself. Australia has increased the travel alarm level to ‘not traveling’ for the city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak – and for the entire Hubei province.
  • Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says that unless people are in contact with someone who doesn’t feel well and comes from that part of China, there is no cause for concern.

JAPAN: 15

  • From 15 February, 15 Australians are among the 219 confirmed coronavirus cases contracted aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama.

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